Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It must be true, I saw it on Facebook. The Adrian Peterson Addition.

This week the two year old son of Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was beaten to death by the mother’s boyfriend. This is an unbelievably sad deal. No matter who is involved, a two year being killed in such a way is heartbreaking.

The past few days I've seen many friends on Facebook re-post pictures and change their profile pictures. Some Packer fans changed their profile pic to the Green Bay logo, but in Vikings colors. I thought that one was pretty cool.

Then there is this picture.

At first, like many, I was touched by it. Then I started reading the news stories and found out that is not the child that was killed. In fact, Adrian Peterson has been pleading for people to stop posting the photo.

But of course, the masses are too stupid to do that. They see something posted on Facebook and take it as undeniable fact without checking the source or confirming anything about it. It must be true, it’s all over Facebook.

I've even seen posts were stupid people photo shops little angel wings on the kid in the above photo and asked people to share it and change their profile image to that picture. Sadly, idiots have done this.

This is just another example of the decline of mankind. We are too lazy to find out actual facts. We see a graphic or meme on Facebook that is funny or agreeable to our views on something, and we accept it as fact without question. For every social or political view or cause there are countless examples of this floating on Facebook that are complete BS, but people take it as fact.

Unless of course, if they disagree with it. Then and only then is it internet BS. But if they like, it must be true. It’s on Facebook after all.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thoughts on the Last Week’s (un)Controlled Burn in Crex

I posted the below opinion piece on the Polk Burnett Outdoors website yesterday, regarding the recent fire in the Crex Meadow Wildlife Area. 

As many of you know on Tuesday October 1, 2013 the DNR was conducting a controlled burn in the Crex Meadows Wildlife Area. They planned to burn around 500 acres, but the fire spread beyond the containment lines and burned roughly 600 additional acres. With help from additional crews, including a Minnesota DNR air tanker, the fire was brought under control without causing any injuries or damaging structures and private property.

When this happened I saw multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter and overheard conversations in public regarding the fire. Many people couldn't understand why the DNR was conducting the burns in the first place. Some were quite vocal on how they feel such actions are a waste of taxpayer money and even stated it was an “arrogant” act by the part of the DNR to burn on such a windy day.

While some people question why the DNR burns areas of the Crex Meadows and Fish Lake Wildlife Areas; it is a very important process in keeping the grasslands areas healthy. Prescribed fires quickly remove dead grass weeds and woody growth, thus reducing wildfire hazards without the use of chemicals such as herbicides. This is not only better for the environment, but it’s also a more economical use of the taxpayer’s money. Burning off the undergrowth also restores nutrients to the soil and promotes new desirable plant growth. Woodlands, wetlands and prairies all benefit from controlled burns.

Some feel the DNR should quit spending its resources on burning and just let nature take care of itself. Those people need to keep in mind nature will take care of itself with fire too. While the DNR picks the most ideal times to burn a predetermined area when the conditions are favorable, nature will burn random areas at random times. A lightning strike can kindle a fire in the middle of the night that could burn for hours before it is reported and firefighting crews can respond. Lightning doesn't take into consideration the direction of wind or the proximity of private property and houses.

When the DNR conduct prescribed burns, they pick the most ideal times of the year. Early spring after the grounds dries out from the winter snow cover but before birds start nesting, and in the fall after the first frosts. The burn areas when the wind is blowing in a favorable direction, into the area they want to burn and away from where they don’t want to burn, like residential areas. Yes, that means windy days are a good time to burn. When you want to burn 500 acres safely before nightfall, you need wind to spread the fire across the area you are burning.

As last Tuesday’s fire showed, fire can be unpredictable and control can easily be lost; even by professionals. But when the DNR lost control of the fire, they were already on scene, the fire was moving in the planned direction and reserve personal were standing by. This allowed the DNR to get the fire back under control quickly with the damage being embarrassment, not loss of property or lives.

I will not criticize the DNR for their controlled or in this case their partially controlled burns. They are the most cost effective and safest way to maintain our area prairies. Given the alternatives of either crop dusting Crex Meadows with toxic chemicals or having wild fires threaten nearby homes and private property, I’ll take the DNR prescribed burns. Even when they burn more than they planned.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Blackhawk Down: 20 Years Ago

It's hard for me to believe, but 20 years ago I was in High School. One memory was the tragic events that happened in Somalia. The U.S. was involved with a humanitarian mission to help the people out in that war torn part of Africa.

Many people are aware of the heroic efforts involved during the Battle of Mogadishu from the news reports and the popular movie based on the events Blackhawk Down.

I remember the graphic images of our Soldier's bodies through the streets. I remember thinking why? Why are these people attacking, killing and mutilating our troops? They are only there to help keep order and provide security for the people bring in needed humanitarian aid. Of course I know more now than I did in High School. Our troops there were not just merely providing security, they were there to take out the bad guys.

Last year a friend of mine, who knows I prefer to read books on history or autobiographies, suggested a book to me: In The Company Of Heroes. In The Company Of Heroes is the autobiography of Michael Durant, one of the Blackhawk pilots that were shot down.

It is an amazing account of his time as a pilot for the Army's elite 160th SOAR, being shot down during the Battle of Mogadishu, his time being held as a POW, and his eventual rescue from his captors.

In The Company Of Heroes is a book I highly recommend for people to read.